The vigilance reaction is characterized by a large bradycardia, a presser response, and inspiratory apnea in anesthetized rabbits and the inhibition of movement in conscious rabbits. This affective response pattern can be elicited by electrical stimulation of the dorsolateral hypothalamus (the hypothalamic vigilance area) or the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (the periaqueductal gray vigilance area). The present study sought to advance our understanding of the functional relationship between the hypothalamic vigilance area (HVA) and the periaqueductal gray vigilance area (PVA) by measuring the effects of transverse transections of the caudal portion of the ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) upon the cardiovascular responses elicited from the dorsolateral hypothalamus and the rostral vlPAG. Selective transverse transections of the caudal vlPAG significantly reduced the magnitudes of the bradycardia and presser response elicited by stimulation of the PVA rostral to the transection site, but had minimal impact on the cardiovascular responses evoked by stimulation of the HVA. These findings suggest that the cardiovascular responses elicited by stimulation of the vlPAG are mediated by a neural pathway that is parallel, at least in part, to the one that subserves the response elicited from the HVA. The results also provide support for the view that the PAG is not an essential structure in the mediation of the autonomic components of affective behaviors involving behavioral inhibition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience